Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I've Been Tagged . . .

by Heather of GreytBlackDog fame to a meme "Six Unknown Things About You". Like everyone else, I first had to understand what a meme is. This is definitely a new term for me. I googled it and here is what I found:

A meme is:
An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.
A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes".

The term and concept of meme is from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation," memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous definition of what precisely a meme is remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes.

Now that we are all further enlightened, I will get on with the task at hand, and that is to come up with six unknown things about myself. This is a rather difficult task as I honestly think most folks know EVERYTHING about me. So, without further adieu . . .

1. I once applied to join the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Yes, and this is probably the most disappointing unsuccessful thing I've ever tried to do. I wanted to work in an Embassy overseas and see the world! I first contacted my local congressman to gain his support, he then contacted the head of the CIA at the time, I was then invited to a group meeting in Pensacola, at which point they widdled down the applicants from a room of 100 or so people to about 10 and then on from there. They came to Panama City and interviewed me, my neighbors and references, teachers, and I think my parents.

I was then invited to visit the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in McLean, Virginia for formal interviews, health screening, and the formidable lie detector test over a two day period. Naturally, I was a nervous wreck. At the ripe old age of 23 (I think) at the time, you can only imagine what was going through my head, however, I was excited about the opportunity and wanted to do my best.

The interview went fine, the health screening went ok, and the lie detector test, well, let me just say it was no cake walk. The morning of the test the electricity went out in my hotel. I thought it must be an omen. I put on my make-up and fluffed my towel-dried hair with my cigarette lighter (I was a smoker at the time). And, yes, I almost caught my hair on fire and the room, too!

I made it to headquarters and waited in the reception area for someone to call my name. As I waited, other applicants were filing out and all were in tears or at least were very upset. Again, I thought this must be an omen. My name was called so I gathered my wits and proceeded to the office where they would hook me up to all kinds of wires. Then, the questioning began. I think I was in that room for about 30-45 minutes and the guy asked me a gazillon questions again and again.

I was released and headed back to the hotel to gather my things and get to the airport. What a day. A few weeks later I received an envelope in the mail from the CIA which stated that although I was a fine applicant, they could not consider me for employment because I did not pass the lie detector test. I spoke with my friend from high school who was an Intelligence Officer in the Navy and she assured me that those things are nothing more than emotion detectors and are not accurate. This was many years ago so I hope the technology has improved since then. It was very stressful, to say the least and is something I hope to never have to do again!

The whole process from initiation to end took almost two years but I have to say I did learn quite a bit during that timeframe. I am now very happy that it didn't work out. With the world as it is today, I probably would have been blown up in an Embassy somewhere. C'est la vie, I say!

2. I am a avid genealogist. That, as Wikipedia says, "is the study and tracing of family lineages and history." I've been doing this for many years but since getting into Greyhound adoption, I've had little time to devote to it. I do know that I have some lines traced as far back as 1612. We definitely have some very colorful ancestors, that's for sure. Most on my mother's side who originated mostly in South Carolina and Georgia. Most had large plantations with 250+ slaves. They grew cotton, indigo, rice and who knows what else (hence my desire to grow cotton once in my garden). One ancestor owned Montpelier Plantation in Beaufort County, South Carolina and another Walnut Hill, in the same county. One line had three mayors of Savannah - a grandfather, a father, and a son. There were some Senators, Generals, Lieutenants, and one Prince, so far.

My great-great-grandfather on my Mom's side enlisted in the Civil War in Atlanta, in January of 1864 (at the age of 16), serving under Capt. Jake Robinson being discharged in 1865 in Augusta under Commander Gary (Cary) W. Stiles. He fought in the Siege of Atlanta and Savannah, Company "L" Artillery. Unfortunately, he lost his leg in that war and was unable to get disability from the government or any Veteran's benefits because he was underage when he enlisted so there is no official record of his enlistment.

Obviously, it's really interesting and is something that I love doing. I recently updated my Family Tree Maker software to the 2008 version so I hope to soon pick up where I've left off.

3. I'm a foodie. Yes, I admit it. I love trying new recipes, am right at home in a Williams-Sonoma, and would rather make my living as a caterer but alas, I doubt the money could support me in the manner in which I'm accustomed to. Pampered Chef is my friend! I have more cookbooks than any one person should have. And as my sister says, being a foodie makes me a detriment to myself as far as the waistline goes. It's a constant battle that I'm hoping to beat with WW.

My biggest thrill was meeting Tyler Florence at a Southern Living show in Birmingham and after that meeting Bobby Flay at his restaurant in New York, Mesa Grill. He actually kissed my hand! Whenever I'm in the Big City, I always go there in hopes of seeing him again. And I've been to the Mesa Grill in Vegas as well. It's a really good restaurant if you're ever near one, I highly recommend dining there.

4. I used to breed and raise and, yes, sell Himalyan kittens. For many years I did this and just loved having new kittens in the house. They are the cutest, fluffiest, blue-eyed things! My brood cat, Chelsea, had to be put to sleep last summer at the age of 16 1/2 due to kidney failure. She was such a good kitty and I miss her terribly. She was an integral part of my life for such a long time and was SEGA's offical cat test kitty for a few years. Her husband, Boca, was quite the stud muffin. He preceeded her in death by about 10 years. He had urethra problems which contributed to his death. This ailment appears to be common for male cats who have been altered. Chelsea missed his companionship so soon after I got Savannah, the Ragdoll, who is now our official cat test kitty for SEGA. She's the bomb and is such an interesting cat. I've always called her my "cat-dog" because she is a cat but she acts like a dog. She definitely fits right into the Greyhound pack I've gathered and is happy as a clam when there are scads of them in the house for dinners or parties.

5. I'm addicted to the Internet and email. I'm sure everyone knows this but I thought I'd throw it out there for those who didn't. My Blackberry is my best buddy! And I'm sure I would start having DTs if anyone were to take it away from me so be forewarned, it won't be pretty! Along with that addiction is the one I have for gadgets, mostly electronic gadgets but if you look through my kitchen you will also see loads of kitchen gadgets. Just call me "gadget girl".

6. I am terrified of folks in costumes covering their heads running at me. I don't know where this comes from except that I was told that once when I was a kid, my neighbor's Dad ran at me with a paper bag over his head screaming and screaming. It was at the kid's birthday party, I think, and one of his presents was a bike with the leopard banana seat - I remember that. Whoo hoo! Anyway, I think the ordeal traumatized me to this day. I don't enjoy the costumed characters at Disney World, I don't enjoy the costumed characters at Six Flags, I hate the costumed characters at haunted houses, and I deplore any costumed character anywhere for that matter, especially if they are chasing me!

So, that's it. Boring, huh? I now tag Maria, Jen, and Scott to do the same, "Six Unknown Things About You". Pin It


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Cool CIA story!


Maria Peters said...

Thanks for the explanation of "meme"...but how do you pronounce it?????? Like MEE MEE (and Paw Paw) in chose? Or like MEEEEEEEEEM. I need to know. LOL!

I loved reading your post!